Items filtered by date: Thursday, 26 September 2019

Declining numbers from key markets has sector concerned.

Forward bookings of trips to South Africa by international tourists are not looking good for the rest of 2019.

In fact, if foreign tourist arrival numbers continue to decline, 2019 will turn out to be even worse than last year for the industry.

That’s the word from Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, speaking to Moneyweb this week following the latest Statistics SA data showing a decline in foreign arrivals. The council’s own Tourism Business Index (TBI), released last week, also painted a grim picture in terms of the outlook for the rest of the year.

Stats SA reported on Monday in the release of its monthly tourism and migration data that foreign arrivals were down 5% for July, compared to July 2018. The data also reveals that South Africans are travelling less overseas with arrivals by South Africans down 11.8%, while departures were down 11.6%.

The figures speak for themselves, says Tshivhengwa. “We have been saying for some time things are tough and are not looking good in terms of international tourist arrivals into South Africa. Our TBI results from last year predicted this and now it is a reality with international arrivals continuing to decline.”

Tshivhengwa says according to the latest TBI figures, international tourist arrivals for the year to date are down 1.4% compared to 2018. SA Tourism’s research, based on Stats SA data, puts the decline for the first six months of the year at 1.1%.

“The results for July have further negatively affected foreign tourist arrivals for the year, which is really concerning for us as the tourism industry,” he notes. “However, the bigger worry is that it puts our target of doubling tourist arrivals by 2030 at risk. To achieve this, we require a 6% compound growth annually in international tourist arrivals to 2030.”

TBCSA identifies itself as the umbrella body representing the “unified voice of business in the travel and tourism sector”. It also administers the tourism marketing levy, known as Tomsa, which tourists pay on specific services such as accommodation in South Africa.

Recovery unlikely this year

“Forward bookings for the rest of the year are not looking good,” says Tshivhengwa. “We were hoping for a recovery in 2019, but it is looking increasingly unlikely from an international tourism perspective. We are not seeing signs of a recovery.”

Last year foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa grew by a lacklustre 1.8% to 10.5 million. The TBCSA described 2018 as “the most challenging trading year for the tourism sector since the inception of the TBI in 2010”. The index recorded its lowest results in 2018.

Tourists from Africa, mainly the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, make up the majority of foreign tourists to South Africa (around 7.8 million), according to auditing and professional services group BDO South Africa. Around 2.7 million tourists were from overseas (including Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Australia).

The TBCSA, with support from SA Tourism, has set an ambitious target to double arrivals to the country to 21 million by 2030.

The organisations have secured the support of President Cyril Ramaphosa to grow the tourism industry and have been calling for relaxation of visa regulations and addressing the issue of unabridged birth certificates for travelling minors.

“Domestic tourism is doing better,” says Tshivhengwa. “However, on the international tourism front where tourists spend more, a continued decline in arrivals will mean that this year will be worse than last year for the tourism industry.”

Tshivhengwa concedes that recent xenophobic violence and crime incidents have not helped matters.

“These issues hurt our industry’s growth potential,” he says. “We cannot ignore them as they impact the image of our country as a whole.

“These issues, together with SA’s visa regime and continuing challenges around unabridged birth certificates, were raised by international travel companies in our recent roadshow to Europe.”

Responding to Moneyweb queries, SA Tourism acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini points out: “South Africa views violence in a serious light and condemns it in the strongest possible terms. While we are unable to quantify the impact from an international arrivals perspective, what is concerning is the negative image the attacks have had on South Africa as a brand.”

She adds: “The recent attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies. Our country stands firmly against all intolerance.

“We have seen queries from various international tour operators, but we have assured them that our government and safety authorities are urgently addressing the situation and that South Africa remains a warm and welcoming country, and open for business.”

On the recent roadshow and SA Tourism offensive in Europe, Dlamini says Europe is a crucial market for South Africa as it generates significant tourism numbers for the country.

“The roadshow was a great success, providing more insights into some of the barriers and concerns of tourists wanting to travel to South Africa,” she says.

“The concerns coming out of this roadshow such as unabridged birth certificates, marketing of the less popular regions as well new product offerings, will be addressed in order to make sure South Africa is more accessible to travellers from Europe and other parts of the world.”

 

Credit: Moneyweb South Africa

Published in Travel & Tourism
Thursday, 26 September 2019 11:53

Zambia: Zesco Announces 200% Tariff Increase

Zesco has announced that it will effect a 200 percent tariff hike with effect from October 1, 2019.

The increment according to Director of Strategy Patrick Mwila has been necessitated by the finalization of the importation of electricity from Eskom Of South Africa.

Addressing the media in Lusaka today, Mwila said that the tariff hike will vary for individual costs depending on spending brackets.

He said the importation of power from South Africa would mean available power in the country would increase by 300 megawatts.

The hike will only be for six months of the power importation aimed at mitigating load shedding following a decline in generation resulting into a deficit of 700 megawatts necessitated by low water levels.

And the current total power generated by both ZESCO and Independent Power Producers is around 1-thousand 5-hundred megawatts against a demand of 1-thousand 9-hundred megawatts during off peak and over 2-thousand 5-hundred megawatts during peak periods.

 

Credfit: Zambia Reports

Published in Engineering
Thursday, 26 September 2019 10:55

Salah angered by Egyptian FA over FIFA votes

Mohamed Salah appears to have again fallen out with Egypt’s football federation.
 
This was after the country’s votes for FIFA’s player of the year awards were deemed invalid and therefore did not count towards the striker’s overall tally.
 
FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi beat Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and five-times winner Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award for a record sixth time on Monday.
 
Salah finished fourth — 20 points behind Messi.
 
Salah, a national icon in the football-mad African country, removed any reference to Egypt from his official Twitter profile in the wake of Monday’s awards ceremony and his Twitter bio now reads “Footballer for Liverpool FC”.
 
“Whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed,” Salah, who has previously clashed with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) over image rights, said on Twitter.
 
The captain and coach of every national football federation affiliated to FIFA get to vote on the player of the year, along with one media representative from each country.
 
The EFA said captain Ahmed Elmohamady and then-coach Shawky Gharib both picked Salah as their first choice, but their votes were missing from a list released by FIFA.
 
The omission prompted EFA to write to the global governing body to seek clarification.
 
The EFA said it sent forms with Elmohamady and Gharib’s votes for Salah well before the deadline.
 
But FIFA said the forms were invalid because the signatures were in capital letters and they were not signed by the EFA general secretary, which was mandatory.
 
“The Egyptian FA have received two reminders to submit the properly signed voting forms on Aug. 19, 2019,” a FIFA spokesperson told News Reporter in an email.
 
The Egyptian FA has not submitted a response within the (limited) timeframe until Aug. 21. Therefore, the votes from the Egyptian FA could not be counted.”
 
FIFA did not clarify if the final standings would have been any different if the votes had been valid.
 
Although Egypt’s votes from their captain and coach did not count, their media representative Hany Danial’s choices (Sadio Mane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Salah) were listed on FIFA’s website.
Published in World
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria on Wednesday evening joined his Zambian and Ethiopian counterparts in calling for unity among African countries to demand unconditional repatriation of assets stolen from the continent, saying that Nigeria has lost 157.5 billion dollars to Illicit Financial Flows in nine years.
 
The call came at a high-level event on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) held on the sidelines of the ongoing 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
 
The theme of the event was “Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development”.
 
According to some estimates, illicit financial flows from Africa is as much as 50 billion dollars annually.
 
In his address, Buhari stated that Nigeria alone lost about 157.5 billion dollars to IFFs between 2003 and 2012.
 
He said although his administration had recovered “millions of dollars stolen from our country” in the last five years, a lot more was still stuck in foreign bank accounts.
 
According to him, a combination of “international laws, different jurisdictions and justice systems”, make it deliberately difficult for repatriation
 
Buhari noted that any lasting solution to the challenges would require international cooperation and coordination.
 
“Therefore, here lies a role for the African Union. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) must be supported to play a critical role in securing the cooperation of African countries and their international counterparts”, he said.
 
The president of Ethiopia, Sahlework Zewede, described IFFs and the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets as complex subjects.
 
Zewede said “innovative solutions require sustained discussion among countries and various stakeholders in the spirit of partnership and shared responsibility”.
 
For his part, the President of Zambia, Edger Lungu, highlighted some challenges faced by African governments in effectively tackling IFFs.
 
Lungu listed them to include lack of harmonisation in the legal and institutional frameworks and ineffective coordination between different jurisdictions.
 
These, in addition to “ineffective border control and in some cases conflicts between national and regional interests are indeed notable challenges”.
 
He, therefore, called for a harmonisation of legal and institutional frameworks to effectively tackle the monster.
 
President of the UN General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, pledged the support of the organ to member state’s and organisations that seek return of stolen money hidden abroad.
Published in Bank & Finance

Nigerian environmental activists, under the aegies of National Interest Defenders, have dragged Shell Petroleum Development Company to court over an alleged under-declaration and non-remittance of over N5trillion worth of crude oil sales revenue.

In a suit which was filed on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, they sought an order to mandate the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute Shell.

Leader of the activists, Perry Opara, while addressing newsmen at the court premises, said the suit was filed over huge losses Nigeria had suffered to alleged stealing of the revenue accruable to the Nigerian people estimated at about N5trillion.

He said, “The case we have advanced before this Honourable Court is that Shell makes under declarations of crude oil shipments and in some extreme instances non declarations of shipments.

“Investigations had earlier revealed that Shell will load vessels at its terminals and just move without declaring the quantity of crude to pre shipment agents who are by law appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“In other cases, the declarations made by Shell to pre shipment agents and contained in export documents have shown marked differences when compared with import documents of the same shipments in the country of destination, particularly the United States of America.

“Nigerians must know that to hide this illicit business and stealing of our common patrimony, we have put before the court issues that Shell turns around and instigates attacks on its facilities so that they can claim that what they stole were lost during the acts of vandalism.

“If Shell on their own can claim that 22 million barrels of oil has been lost in about six months, that will give Nigerians an idea of how much crude oil they have stolen and are prepared to hide from the Nigerian people.

“We are urging the court in the interest of the country to grant us the orders we have sought so that this stealing of Nigeria’s oil will be brought to an end and the resources of the country utilized for the common good while the already stolen resources of about N5 Trillion Naira would be refunded by Shell”.

Published in Bank & Finance
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